In a Wednesday interview with ABC, President Biden talked about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Biden told interviewer George Stephanopoulos that Putin would ‘‘pay the price’’ for his interference with the 2020 U.S. general election.
The U.S. president went even further when he responded positively to the interviewer’s question whether Putin is a '’killer’‘.
In a subsequent discussion, Biden discussed his personal experience with the Russian president, describing Putin as a person who made an impression on him as someone '’devoid of the soul’‘.
These incendiary remarks came after the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies that indicated that Putin’s administration attempted to affect the result of the U.S. election in favor of the former U.S. President Donald Trump.
Among Russia’s top officials, Biden’s claims were received with shock.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described Biden’s statement as '’very bad’‘, emphasizing that they signal the unwillingness of the new U.S. administration to improve relations with Russia.
Andrei Turchak, a top official of the country’s ruling party '’United Russia’‘, characterized Biden’s interview as a measure of '’marasmus of the U.S. policy’’ and Biden’s '’dementia’‘.
Even Putin responded to Biden’s claims.
Russian president invited the U.S. president to participate in a live online debate in which the exchange would be continued.
He stressed that such an event would be of great public interest.
When asked about his wishes for President Biden, Putin said that, above everything else, he hopes for the U.S. president’s good health, emphasizing that his words do not contain any irony.
Following Biden’s remarks, the Russian ambassador was called back to Moscow to '’attend consultations about the U.S-Russia relations’‘.
Would the debate ever happen?
It seems that the online debate between two presidents will not occur anytime soon.
The New York Post reported that The White House declined Putin’s invitation saying that President Biden is '’quite busy’’ at the present moment.
White House press secretary Jennifer Psaki told reporters that President Biden has to visit Georgia in the following days and has no plans of meeting with Putin in the near future.
Many commentators criticized Biden’s remarks as tactless and unconducive to global stability.
They perceive good international relations, particularly those with Russia, as crucial for the success of American national interests.
Others, however, believe that the U.S. president has to behave a bit provocatively to display the U.S. power in the international arena.
Only time would tell which of these approaches is more effective.
The time will also tell whether the live debate between the two presidents would ever happen.